Obama climate rule looms large in Mont. governor’s race

Source: Elizabeth Harball and Madelyn Beck, E&E reporters • Posted: Friday, March 11th, 2016

Federal climate regulations may be a hot political issue in conservative, coal-heavy states across the nation, but so far the issue has not yet emerged as a voting wedge in many of the 12 gubernatorial races taking place this cycle. Rather, said Jennifer Duffy, senior editor for The Cook Political Report, it’s an issue that “will come up on the laundry list of things the candidates talk about or are asked about.” Montana is the exception. Here in a state that sits on about a quarter of the nation’s coal reserves and receives tens of millions of dollars in revenue from the industry each year, the Clean Power Plan is a major political flashpoint

Ark. becomes 19th state to stop planning for climate rule

Source: Elizabeth Harball and Edward Klump, E&E reporters • Posted: Friday, March 11th, 2016

The director of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality confirmed Wesnesday that her state is pausing preparations for U.S. EPA’s rule limiting carbon emissions from power plants. “We want to continue to follow what’s being done, but we will not be taking steps to be doing any implementation of a rule that the courts have found to be put in a position of a stay,” Director Becky Keogh said after a Senate hearing yesterday in Washington, D.C.

Feinstein: ‘We’re between a rock and hard place’ on budget

Source: Christa Marshall, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, March 11th, 2016

A top Democratic appropriator Wednesday said President Obama’s plan to double clean energy research spending as part of his broader climate plan “is going to be a most difficult task,” considering current budget constraints. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) told Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz that what we “are responsible for right now … we cannot do based on this president’s budget” because there is little likelihood of having sufficient money to fund it.

U.S. poised to sail past carbon targets, officials say

Source: Umair Irfan, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, March 11th, 2016

Renewable energy and energy efficiency will get the United States past its climate targets, even without the Obama administration’s signature carbon policy, an energy agency official said yesterday. “Renewable power, energy efficiency — they are moving forward, with the Clean Power Plan and without the Clean Power Plan,” said David Friedman, principal deputy assistant secretary at the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).

Senate leaders may force energy bill’s return

Source: Geof Koss and Hannah Hess, E&E reporters • Posted: Friday, March 11th, 2016

The Senate’s No. 2 Republican signaled yesterday that the chamber’s leaders were considering filing cloture on energy reform legislation to circumvent objections by some lawmakers that continue to bog down the measure. Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) this afternoon said cloture on the energy bill was an option, with leaders looking to wrap up work on the package and a separate aid bill for Flint, Mich., next week before their recess.

U.S. Solar Growth Will More Than Double in 2016, Study Finds

Source: By Joe Ryan, Bloomberg • Posted: Thursday, March 10th, 2016

U.S. solar installations are expected to more than double this year, driven by falling equipment prices and federal tax credits. Solar companies will add 16 gigawatts of panels in the U.S. in 2016, up from 7.3 gigawatts in 2015, according to a study released Wednesday by the Solar Energy Industries Association, a Washington-based trade group.

Las Vegas casinos seek to power their bright lights with renewable energy

Source: By Daniel Hernandez, The Guardian • Posted: Thursday, March 10th, 2016

In recent months, three of Nevada’s largest casino companies – MGM Resorts, Wynn, and Las Vegas Sands – have announced plans to buy and produce more renewable energy for their hotels, a move driven both by increasing demand for responsible energy use from the companies that rent their conference halls, and a surplus of cheap power from solar farms in Nevada and California. “It’s no accident that we put the array on top of a conference center. This is good business for us,” said Cindy Ortega, chief sustainability officer at MGM Resorts. “We are looking at leaving the power system, and one of the reasons for that is we can procure more renewable energy on the open market.”

Utilities challenge Calif.’s net-metering protection

Source: Anne C. Mulkern, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, March 10th, 2016

A program that pays California residents for the extra electricity made by their rooftop solar panels came under renewed attack yesterday. Utilities and others appealed the California Public Utility Commission’s January decision that largely preserved net energy metering, or NEM. The rule in the Golden State requires utilities to pay solar customers retail rates for the electricity they send back to the grid.

Comment: Creating more American wind energy helps us keep promises

Source: By Tom Kiernan, Roberta Combs, Michele Combs, The Hill • Posted: Thursday, March 10th, 2016

When you turn your lights on at home, how often do you think about your family, your children or your children’s children? For more and more young families and young voters across the country, the answer is every single time. That’s because how we choose to produce the electricity needed to power America has a lasting impact on our health, our wallets and our jobs.
Air pollution still poses a threat to our families’ health every day. Power plants that contribute to this pollution are now more expensive and less efficient than the clean energy sources scaling up fast on America’s power grid. That means America’s electricity doesn’t have to hit U.S. families and homeowners in the pockets and the lungs.

Big Wyoming wind farm clears another government hurdle

Source: By MEAD GRUVER, Associated Press • Posted: Thursday, March 10th, 2016

One of the biggest wind projects under development in North America cleared another regulatory hurdle Wednesday with the release of a federal environmental study looking at the first-phase installation of 500 wind turbines. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s environmental analysis tentatively allows planning for the Chokecherry-Sierra Madre wind project south of Rawlins to continue. The agency found no new problems after looking at exactly where the developers propose to put the turbines.